Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting It Through My Thick Skull

Summary by Publisher: "I think, every once in a while, about the life I should be living, the one I fully expected to be enjoying right about now. In the life I was supposed to have, my husband and I would be admiring the view from our waterfront home in the town where we were both born and raised. Good friends and neighbors would be next door, up the street, and all over the neighborhood. Our parents would live only blocks away, in our childhood homes. We'd be taking our grandchildren to the beach club on weekends, enjoying the fruits of our labors and looking forward to a peaceful retirement. That was the plan, anyway . . . but the whole world knows how that turned out."

Mary Jo Buttafuoco's anonymous life as a suburban wife and mother in sleepy Massapequa, New York, on Long Island, ended in May 1992, when she was shot in the head on her own front porch. The 'Long Island Lolita' saga sparked a media frenzy that has not died to this day. As the years passed and Mary Jo steadfastly stood by her man while Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher continued to make headlines, one question lingered in the minds of women everywhere: Why did she stay for so long? In Getting It Through My Thick Skull, Mary Jo finally answers that question fully and convincingly. The answer is simple, yet it took almost three decades of turmoil: She was married to a sociopath. And while Mary Jo's face and story are known all over the world, she's just one of countless women who have become similarly enmeshed with a partner who wreaks utter havoc on the lives around them.

Using her own experiences, Mary Jo helps readers determine if they are indeed involved with a sociopath and offers hope and help for them throughher tragic and triumphant life lessons. In addition, readers will be inspired by Mary Jo's comeback: A true reclamation and re-creation of her life from the inside out. Through private details of the resiliency and rebuilding she has forged over the past sixteen years, Mary Jo shares with readers for the first time:

* Her addiction to painkillers and her recovery through the Betty Ford Center
* Her overdue decision to leave Joey and start over again on her own in California-3,000 miles from her support system
* Taking control of her physical, spiritual, and emotional health and learning to feel attractive and in control again, despite the scars and trauma of the gunshot
* Her highly controversial and public forgiveness of Amy Fisher
* The new love in her life and how she found the courage to trust, believe, and find hope in a committed relationship once again

“Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man.”

Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette

Mary Jo Buttafuoco stood by her man through sex, drugs, and an assailant’s bullet. And all she got in return was more of the same from her charming, but soulless husband, Joey, and scorn from the world. Before there were the O.J.-Nicole-Ron and the Scott-Laci-Amber sagas, there was the Amy Fisher-Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco triangle. While the who- done- it part of the shooting (Amy Fisher) was solved in a few days, the why part, as in why did Mary Jo stay with Joey remained a mystery until now.

Getting it Through My Thick Skull by Mary Jo Buttafuoco with Julie McCarron is Mary Jo’s rebuttal to the naysayers. An older, wiser, and now- divorced Buttafuoco explains that for nearly thirty years she was emotionally tethered to a sociopath: her former husband Joey. Poignantly, the memoir also sheds light on the devastating toll Joey Buttafuoco’s antics took on their two children.

According to Getting it Through My Thick Skull, “living with a sociopath disrupts every normal part of life --- sex, money, parenting, employment. . . .” The Buttafuocos’ marriage was certainly no exception to this pattern. The book details Joey Buttafuoco’s addictions to cocaine, sex, free spending, and reckless thrill-seeking. Sociopaths thrive on manipulating others through pathological lying to advance their own selfish desires or simply for kicks. As Buttafuoco relates, “if you haven’t ever been under a sociopath’s spell be grateful. They can charm the birds out of the trees and tell you black is white, and have you believing it.”

Buttafuoco also reveals her own personal demons – an addiction to prescription pain pills and clinical depression. Later after kicking the pill addiction and forgiving Amy Fisher, Buttafuoco finally musters the courage to leave Joey. And in true fairytale fashion she finds true love.

Getting it Through My Thick Skull is both a sad tale of one family’s descent into chaos at the hands of the male head-of-household and inspirational in the sense of watching Mary Jo bloom.


  1. I remember the Buttafuoco tragedy very well. I'm so glad she found true love!!!